Epidemiologist says Sask. reopening plan 'taking a huge gamble'
Published Wednesday, May 5, 2021 5:01PM CST Last Updated Wednesday, May 5, 2021 6:47PM CST
SASKATOON -- University of Saskatchewan epidemiologist Nazeem Muhajarine isn’t happy with the province’s three-step reopening plan.
He says the province isn’t listening to health care workers and their concerns in the rise of COVID-19 cases.
“I couldn’t believe it, that it actually was happening because in my day to day work life I am keeping an eye on variants of concern,” Muhajarine told CTV News.
Muhajarine says variants of concern are still on the rise in the province. He emphasizes health care workers don’t know what the variant that originated in India has in store.
“I think it is too rushed, too soon and it is taking a huge gamble with the people’s quality of life.”
He also calls the reopening plan “needless at the moment” and is reminding people that one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine only gives partial protection against the disease.
Saskatoon ICU physician Dr. Hassan Masri on the other hand says the province has been waiting for a solution to the pandemic for many months.
“Frankly, I was happy to hear about a plan that looks at the future and has a way for us for us to move back to near normal.”
Masri says the phased approach is “conservative” in terms of restrictions that are being eased off.
“I think after three weeks of 70 per cent of people receiving the vaccine, I think there’s a reasonable starting target,” he said.
Masi says the plan “makes sense” and is hopeful it will work.
“But being hopeful alone is not enough, we need to do the work and the work is we need to continue to educate our fellow citizens in Saskatchewan.”